Sunday, 11 December 2011

Europe: A Rather Urgent 12-Point Strategy

Cameron seems to have stumbled somewhat into the current situation, so far as a mere observer can judge, with nary a sign of strategy to be seen. But as with most positions it is by no means without possibilities: and we can rectify some of the strategic deficiencies.

First, some observations:

- France may be looking for ways to follow through promptly and finish the City. C’est reparti comme en quatorze, eh ? Not so fast, frog: you’ve to defend your own banks and currency first, which’ll keep your plate full. You’ll find that several of your 25 confrères are more concerned with their banks, too – not to mention fending off Mrs Merkel and yourself

- Can’t see the 26 rushing to impose a Tobin Tax on their banks just now – and they actually needed all that money they were planning to reap from the City …

- There is, however, the possibility of a ghastly new flank opening up: Obama (he of the snide ‘British Petroleum’ comments last year) may shortly be scape-goating the City for all his woes, just as Sarkozy and several German politicians are already doing

- Treasonous UK Labour and LibDem politicians will be actively sleeping and treating with the enemy, who will be feeding them ammunition and promises: do as
we say, and we guarantee you the next election - and a smooth path to re-admittance to our Top Tables

- But it isn’t as easy as all that either for LibDems (you wanna general election on this issue ?), or indeed for Labour, once the cheap points have been scored. Watch for Miliband being shredded by Cameron in Parliament - and then for Mandelson to be brought back into his inner circle

- If Cameron knows what he wants to achieve in all this (a big ‘if’, I know: let’s pray it is something worthy), in the coming months there will be opportunities for re-engagement on favourable terms with the EU, collectively and with individual member-states - including opportunities to make gains tactical and strategic gains.

However, even to identify these opportunities will require battlefield vision and generalship of Wellingtonian quality. Whom do we have of this calibre ? Cameron himself ? - apparently not (and this is not a criticism, though it is a pity). Hague ? - I don’t see it. Osborne ? - well his admirers reckon so, but isn’t he just a little, err, pre-occupied right now ?

And there’s another problem: the Civil Service is not onside – disgraceful, but true. I have never been particularly impressed by the FCO at the best of times, and they've let Cameron down badly this time. Incompetence ? or treachery ? In any event, many of them will soon be hearing seductive whispers from their European oppos, just like the Labs and Libs.

So: here are some strategic points for Cameron.

1. this is war, and you personally are one of their targets: clear the decks

2. cover the Obama flank as a first priority: and watch Salmond

3. no consolation-prizes for Clegg (and to Hell with Cable and Huhne)

4. some brutally simple 'dividing-lines' for Miliband - the sort that even Sun readers understand

5. get Farage onside (privately)

6. tell Boris that if he is caught making personal capital out of this you will have him thrown to the dogs

7. don’t treat with the Bastards, there’s no need now - they are already wetting themselves with pleasure (and they are mostly head-cases)

8. don’t feel the need to buy off Murdoch just because he comes weaseling up to you again

9. if Osborne really is your best man, take him off Treasury duties and put him on Europe, full-time

10. get some reliable heavyweight mandarins on the team who can do the staff-work and field-work properly, without running an agenda of their own

11. instant dismissal with no pension for any Civil Servant who has unauthorised dealings with European bureaucrats or politicians

12. map out the battlefield, identify your chances - and fall on the French like Wellington on Marmont at Salamanca

By God, that will do ! - for starters, anyway.



Sean said...

Make sure the frogies are upto date with debt union and the cuts to their blesssed state provisions that will entail. A job for the spooks.

Anonymous said...

The clause "instant dismissal with no pension for any Civil Servant who has unauthorised dealings with European bureaucrats or politicians"

should have been applied from day one to any civil servant caught working against government policy.

Cameron will never get the civil service to love him, so the "fear of God" was is and will be his only effective strategy.

andrew said...

Following the war analogy.

The fog of war has descended to the point where we have missed the fact that the full agreement they have come to has not been written yet.

This is just a skirmish.

There is a lot of time between now and March.

I would suggest standing well back until we see the 'white of the printed paper' at which time the other 26 countries oppositions point out the real consequences of signing up and they can all turn on each other.
If they dont we can point out the complete lack of democracy in Europe for a start.

CityUnslicker said...

sadly, there will be no paper, the markets are not going to make March is the conclusion I am rapidly coming to.

Instead, this whole event is going to just be remembered as part of the testosterone fuelled hysteria leading up to the collapse of the Eurozone.

The banks can't make their roll-over funding in Q1 and that is going to be it - a new more dramatic solution will be found.

What is perhaps interesting is the role Britain may play as the Euro-Scapegoat (with some justification re our past regulations) de jour.

Anonymous said...

Alternatively just set the Eurozone to "simmer" and stand well back.

Obama is on his way out, so is Sarkozy. The Greeks will probably resort to terrorist attacks on Brussels as the situation gets more extreme there.

I'm not a Eurosceptic because of some childish patriotism. I'm a Eurosceptic because the whole thing was set up for disastrous failure right from Maastricht onwards. It has only surprised me just how fast and how violently the whole thing is being torn apart.

Anonymous said...

What seems to be the issue is that Sarkozy and by extension the French government seem convinced to the point of obsession that the banks are the cause of the Eurozone problems.

So, not government spending, politically driven currency unions, etc... it's those nasty anglo saxon bankers...

Well economics trumps politics almost all the time, so stand back and enjoy the show..

Jan said...

How about as some others have already suggested just leave well alone and start courting some others in the world such as China and Brazil where we can do business without all the hand-wringing. Let Europe stew in its own juice as it were.

Don't worry about the Civil Service, Lib Dems, Salmond etc. leave them to their own devices too and just press on with the rest of the world.

Budgie said...

There was no treaty and hence no veto by Cameron. He merely indicated he would veto if the current proposals became a treaty.

There is many a slip .... If anyone seriously thinks Cameron is a eurosceptic who will honour his word, he is in for a nasty shock. Over time CMD will bow to pressure from the EU and the Lib Dems to just give a little here and ease up there, as he has already shown he will.

And as for "instant dismissal with no pension for any Civil Servant who has unauthorised dealings with" the EU is one of the biggest loads of old tosh that I have heard about this whole EC meeting.

Our civil servants are constantly in touch with the EU. This is the way the EU works: it gets the local (ie "national") civil servants to do its ongoing work for it in the locality (in this case the UK). The local politicians are no longer needed to give "authorisation".

Certainly this EC meeting did nothing to alleviate the existing eurozone crises and I would like to think that the euro will disintegrate as a result. But as I have repeatedly stated my opinion is that the EU will move hell and earth to keep it going (and Cameron (and Obama) will help them).

hovis said...

@Budgie - agreed Cameron is no EU sceptic and the froth on this is just that - froth of no substance.

No measures were taken to alleviae the Euro problem, and the would be power grab will be overtaken by events. That said Cameron ( and especially quisling Clegg) will sell us down the river as soon as they can.

dearieme said...

Rule 1: as the eurozone gets deeper in the mire, don't crow - make allies, with a bit of buttering up, a bit of cajoling, and the occasional quiet, well-directed threat.
Rule 2: be careful never to let anyone infer that the veto won't be used again.
Rule 3: do mention the referendum, but quietly.
Rule 4: start ungoldplating eu-derived laws.
Rule 5: set enquiries afoot into any eu activities that might be vulnerable to legal challenge.

Rule 6: get fracking.
Rule 7: whatever MI6 has on Obama, be prepared to use it.
Rule 8: get the troops home from Germany (and elsewhere) promptly.
Rule 9: have a good bank/bad bank solution for RBS etc up your sleeve in case of emergency.
Rule 10: set about making the UK a more attractive location for businesses.

Most of these rules would be a Good Thing irrespective of the latest brouhaha.

electro-kevin said...

Nick - You appear assume that Cameron is Eurosceptic.

His back benchers and the City gave him no option but to use the veto.

The pressure needs to be kept up on this fella.

andrew said...

There is an interesting article in the Economist and, for those of us who believe in cock-up theory has the ring of truth.

Whether or not the right call was made is another question entirely.

Y Ddraig Goch said...

> 4. some brutally simple 'dividing-lines' for Miliband

As I understand the proposed treaty that Cameron vetoed, it would have required EU countries to enshrine in law a maximum debt of 60% of GDP and a maximum deficit of 3% (with structural deficit capped at 0.5%).

Wouldn't this basically make the Labour Party's economic policy unlawful, with any attempt at Brown/Balls style spending punished by the EU bureaucrats?

Yet Milliband is complaining because Cameron vetoed the deal. I can uderstand why the BBC doesn't mention this, but I don't see anyone else saying it either. What have I missed?

Lord Blagger said...

1. Make sure the Lib Dems and Labour tell people what they would do with the EU if they signed up to this latest scheme. It includes the deficit cap at 0.5%. That is 7 bn for the US.

Current deficit 140 bn.

They should be pushed how they would cut spending, or whom they would tax and by how much. If its indirect taxation, then how much the customer pays.

The next, is to have a full reckoning of all state debts. Then send every taxpayer a personal pro rata statement, annually of their share. That really shakes things up.

Lord Blagger said...

The main Euro problem remains.

1. They couldn't solve the default of a tin pot economy - the Greeks.

2. They therefore can't solve Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Belgium or any of the other ones.

3. Downgrades are next.

4. Then, even with interest rate cuts, I doubt that will have any major effects on rates paid. It's base rate + default premium, and its going to be all default premium.

Anonymous said...

Reduce by (at least) 50% the £50,000,000 PER DAY we are sending to the Eurocrats to fund the gravy train. That'll learn them!